Friday, November 06, 2009

The Week at Woodsong

Where did the week go? I started with laundry from the weekend on Monday. The first week in the month also holds both our regular board meeting of the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association and also the local women’s club.

The board meeting was supposed to be a very important planning session when we were joined by the national president and the national executive secretary, both from states away to plan our national convention, which is going to be in Illinois this year in September. We planned to meet at Camp Ground Church as soon as they arrived from area airports, so that they then could drive on over to Metropolis to spend the night and to sign contracts and secure space for the convention there. Knowing our visitors would have no time to eat before the meeting, we planned a light supper. At the last moment, one became ill and her doctor did not want her to travel, so there was no reason for the other national representative to come from his state either. We thought our Illinois board would therefore have a short meeting since the main purpose of the meeting was aborted.

Not so. As we relaxed and ate together, we realized that there was much local planning we also needed to do and this was the perfect time to accomplish it since we’d be involved with convention planning at a rescheduled time. We brain stormed and came up with some good ideas for work to be done in 2010.

The most exciting event of the evening, however, was sharing in the birth of Joe Crabb’s great granddaughter down in Texas. His grandson and wife were there to attend to the birth of a baby girl that the biological mother was heroically allowing them to add to their family. Joe warned us if the phone rang, he’d leave the room so he could learn of this expectant birth. We would not have that. We did not want to be denied our participation in this important occasion.

Sure enough, his phone beeped and a text message told him Savannah had been born. I wish you could have seen the smile on Joe’s face. There were goose bumps and tears and happiness filling the room. Then the baby’s grandmother phoned to make sure Joe had received the text announcement. And, best of all, next we were all privileged to see this sweet baby girl’s photo on Joe’s phone—all wrapped cozy in a blanket with her little face staring at us with no idea she had caused such pleasure up in Illinois. I predict great things for this cherished child.

Not nearly so dramatic nor so important, the second most exciting event of the evening was Joe’s bringing in the beautiful new brochures his daughter helped him create—brochures showing the map of Pope County with clear directions as to how anyone can hike, bike, or drive over a nine-mile certified original segment of the Trail of Tears.

The National Park Service has sent the signs to make the way clear for visitors, and some are already in place. After running out of posts, a new supply has been found, and the rest of the signage on the trail segment should be completed soon. You don’t have to wait though. If you stop by the Chocolate Factory (always a good idea) on the designated TOT highway, Route 146, you can pick up a brochure and follow the clear directions for an interesting day trip through beautiful countryside, where the Cherokee sadly marched 171 years ago.

Today was the afternoon meeting of the Women’s Club, and we were able to hear Cindy Gibbons, president of Old National Bank, tell us some of the important things happening in Marion right now. Since I missed last month, it was fun to see everyone again and hear all the plans for the season ahead.

With meetings, meals to make and dishes to wash, phone calls, research, and reading, the week has flown by. Gerald continues in his project of helping clean up Brian and Mary Ellen’s new acreage, and then there have been a couple of Gerry’s dogs here at Woodsong to care for this week. Baseball games for Gerald to watch in the evenings. What should have been a week we could pronounce a good week ended with the great national sorrow and our hearts filled with grief for the families who lost loved ones.

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